As he withdraws into the sinking recliner he's uncomfortable with my line of questioning. I can see plainly on his face he's half grand Pooh Bah half elder statesman.
Holding court over his flock, ready to strike out, defending the weak with a single blow. Members of his cabinet know that behind his aloof and abrasive stature tears are held for all of the defenseless children of the world. The man that once held blueprints of a nuclear reactor, making sure he didn't drop his wrench, now searches road maps for the cities and towns of his friends. His name is Ted Hall. You may call him: der Heifermeister.
ER: Tell me about your ride, your go to motorcycle
Hef: (silent motioning with his hands as “which one?” )
ER: Ah year model, you got a bunch of bikes.
Hef: Which ones? All of them?
ER: So you want to go for a ride: tell me what you got?
Hef: I switch them around. It depends on what battery needs to get charged, and which one I feel like getting on that day and which one is clean or dirty. So if it is going to be a dirty ride, I take the old slash six. If it is going to be a hard ride on straight roads, I take the K11, if I want to take a ride by myself or with the guys I usually take my R12.
ER: You have two of those. A 2010 and a
Hef: 2014. R1200RT’s the ‘10 is stripped, it doesn’t have any of the bells and whistles. And the ‘14 has everything on it.
ER: So when you were hauling my butt back from my breakdown during the national two years ago
Hef: (interrupts) When I was sicker than a dog.
ER: you would get really agitated about every 15 minutes and then take some ibuprofen and be better how do you tell if you're agitated?
Hef: (trying not to laugh) I don’t. I don’t know.
ER: (now laughing uncontrollably)
Hef: How the F do I know that Shxx?
ER: In 1996 I was a solo relief milker on a 300 head dairy. I got to help cows in the delivery of a few calves. Tell me the MOV birth story.
Hef: How I got started with the MOV? Is that what you are asking?
ER: How the club started?
Hef: I don’t know how it started because I came ten years after it started. I am not an original. But I remember that I met… I was riding towards Ludlow on my slash six and Sammy Pierce went by, going up the other way. And he was going up to Lloyd Provins for an open house. And I whipped around and he saw me turn around, he pulled over and he told me about Lloyd Provins little open house. So I went home and I got better dressed, because I was in a T shirt, and put on a nice leather jacket and went up to Provins and that was my first introduction to BMW’s. I didn’t think there were any BMW’s in Vermont, no clue. Then I rode for the summer and fooled around and Lynn was getting introduced to riding. I hadn’t ridden with her yet, but she was learning. And I went up to camp Betsey Cox because I heard they had a rally going there, the Green Mountain Rally. And It was in Nineteen Ninety One. This is my twenty fifth year with the club. And the three people that I met was Bud Provin, John Winter, and Roger Farnsworth. Roger is not with us anymore. Ah he’s not in the club. And then I got an application for the club from John, no Roger handed the thing to me. That’s how I got started with MOV. It’s amazing it was 25 years ago. Wow, time went by. So anyway, uh, go ahead.
ER: You have a great collection of bikes. Is there a bike that you want in your collection that you don't have right now?
Hef: No, I’m good.
Hef: I don’t want to buy anymore…well, if they come out with a scrambler version or a dirt version of that 300, 310C
ER: (Groaning) Ohhhh
Hef: Then I am interested
ER: Dude I am right there with you.
Hef: Isn’t that a cool bike? Finally it’s down there, that’s what I want.
ER: You and Lynn attended a nudist colony can you tell me the attraction to hanging out in the buff?
Hef: My neighbor lived down the street. And he and Donna, it was Mike and Donna, had sold lock stock and barrell their 50 acre parcel down here at the end of the road and Mike always wanted to do a nudist colony thing. So he invited Lynn and I when we went to Carmi to come and visit them. And he gave me the secret handshake and how to get in and all that stuff. And this is in Sheldon Springs.
ER: There’s a secret handshake? (Laughing)
Hef: It could be something else. But to get in they had one of those bar things and to get in you would tap in the number. So we go in and there is Lynn and I pulling in with my truck. And we look up on the hill and there’s a bunch of really nice houses in there. They are modern, they are not derelict houses. And there’s husband and wife sitting up there real friendly, in the buff. And I said to myself: “Hey this is cool”. And we had drove up to where Mike had described where his trailer was, his domicile for there and Lynn said: “Who’s that?” And I said: “That’s Donna”. She is walking up the hill with another lady bare ass. And we go over and park over by Mike’s trailer and he laying under it and working on something and he’s naked. So I said: “Well let’s do it”. So we took our clothes off threw them over the gunnell on the pickup and started walking down to where he was working on the pickup. And Mike is partly deaf, so I am going: “Mike… Mike… (louder) Mike.” And he looks up and he goes: “Oh, hi Ted, hi Lynn”. And we were there for the afternoon. And you have to carry a towel in a Nudist colony. The towel is to sit on. You are not suppose to sit down on anything, put your but down on someone else’s chair or your own chair because it is not sanitary. But other than that, there are no other rules. And we got the tour. Went around and were introduced to a bunch of people. Lynn was laughing because there was a guy mowing the lawn with just sneakers on, pushing a lawn mower and he was bare ass. It was kinda cool.
ER: Just to listen to you talk for a minute there the thing I was connecting with was mechanics. I don’t want to run an angle grinder without protective clothing… Maybe even if he was just changing the oil… but even then, hot oil?
Hef: Ah no. That was interesting, everybody laughed, they said: “You went to a… did you take your clothes off?” Well uh yeah. Because clothes, is not an option. You have to take your clothes off, this is what it is all about. So It was nice. It was fun.
ER: I went to school with a girl that joined a cult. And when she did, she gave away all of her possessions to the cult. And talking to her about that she said: “It was one of the most liberating things I have ever done”. And I was like, now think about that for a minute. You go from all of this stuff that you package yourself in and trap yourself in, and then it all goes away and what are you left with?
Hef: Just you
ER: Just yourself.
Hef: That’s it, nothing wrong with that.
ER: Do you think that MOV rallies are similar to nudist events then?
ER: What is up with your early to bed routine I noticed that wherever you are and no matter what it is going on 8 o'clock and you are cutting logs with the tent flaps closed?
Hef: I get up early. And I like a good night’s sleep to function during the day. That’s why I go to bed early.
ER: How early do you get up?
Hef: 5, 5:30 6, it depends. If I have had a tossy turny night then I will stay in bed till six o’clock, but after that it’s DAYTIME! It’s time to go do something. So that’s why, and I enjoy it, I like going to bed.
ER: Do you like the mornings?
Hef: I love the mornings.
ER: Me too, I am up at five o’clock at my house. I am up, I’ll make coffee, I will start planning breakfast. I’ll make breakfast. I will do prep for breakfast and then cook it.
ER: Did you have extensive military training about being first in line for chow?
Hef: That started out as a joke. Because people would stand around and talk, and the food is ready and I watch, and I said “why isn’t anyone in line? What are they doing? Why aren’t they going and getting in line?”
ER: No one wanted to be first.
Hef: Nobody wants to be first and noone will take the last cookie. And that is me. I will get in line first… bang then you have a line. Secondly at the end of the day and there is one cookie on the platter, I’ll eat it… ‘cause nobody will take the last cookie. I’ll eat the damn thing.
ER: I mean it is not going to do any good out in the dew, is it?
Hef: No, and speaking of food: Eating is a good way of preventing starvation. So I like to eat and get it over with so I can bullshit. And, go ahead and ask me what my favorite kind of foods are (reading script from his notes prepared prior to my arrival) extra thick smoked bacon. Grilled cheese sandwiches. And meatloaf with mashed potatoes.
ER: Go back to the grilled cheese, how do you build your grilled cheese?
Hef: It depends, but mostly I put a light bread, not wheat, but a light kind of bread.
ER: Crust on, crust off?
Hef: Yeah, either one, doesn’t matter. And two or three slices of cheese and it could be chunked off horseradish cubes, I don’t care. ‘cause there’s a lot of different flavors. And if there’s something like salami. I’ll put a slice of that in there. Mayonnaise. And that’s it… and I can eat three or four of them.
ER: On the Griswold cast iron.
Hef: You betcha. Damn right.
ER: In the movie Easy Rider. Was Henry Fonda a wandering hippie or freedom fighter?
Hef: No clue. I can’t remember the movie. All I remember is him and the two other actors.
Hef: Dennis Hopper and Jack Nicholson. Just riding a motorcycle. That’s all I remember. I don’t remember a plot.
ER: When you think about your dream ride on two wheels does it involve you and a thousand cc RR on the Isle of Man TT track solo airborne?
Hef: No. It doesn’t excite me at all.
Hef: I like to go fast sometimes on the Isle of Man, there is nobody that I know of can be slower than the fastest guy. Those guys are just amazing. If you have mad Sunday. Which is on Sunday you go around the circuit, one way, it used to be two ways, people were getting killed. So now it’s one way, and I don’t bother going on that Sunday because you could be the fastest guy in the world… so you think and you will get passed.
ER: So you are talking about… not racers, people pulling up in their street bikes and they let them ride the loop?
ER: Holy frig
Hef: There’s like four hours of it. It’s crazy.
ER: That’s nuts.
Hef: They let cars on it too, same day. I saw the marshall riding around. He leads the pack the first lap, the first time around. And if he feels frisky he can go another three or four or five times. And he’s doing a hundred and fifty to a hundred and sixty miles an hour.
ER: In a car.
Hef: In a car with somebody riding shotgun and guys are passing him on the left and the right.
Hef: It’s like nuts. It’s crazy, it’s mad Sunday.
ER: (laughing) They take their madness seriously
Hef: Oh yeah. We had a friend named John Rogers, Jim Rogers, Rogers something. He was six eight and he rode a blackbird. And that’s the Honda equivalent to in this country almost like a V max, but it’s not, it’s a sport bike and he put a gopro on his faring, on his lower left. He got up about four o’clock in the morning cause nobody is up at that time of day, it’s not mad Sunday, it’s any day. And the sun was just coming up, about the same intensity of light as we have here now (pointing over his right shoulder to the overcast glow through the window) and he had his gopro going. And you could hear the humming of the engine just a little bit. But when he was going through the gears the bike would hop. When he was going down through the gears when he was going down through some of the curves. And he said… and a couple of times he said he was doing one hundred and seventy six miles an hour… by himself nobody is out there, one seventy six. And the roads are like… (motions with hand as curves) at that speed they are not (motions straight) they’re just twisty. But if you were doing sixty miles an hour it would be long slow curve. At a hundred and sixty five miles an hour…
ER: It’s a turn.
Hef: Yeah, those guys, are great riders.
ER: Pucker factor, huh?
Hef: Oh man. they have big huge cajones. because I have never seen anything like that in my life. That’s why we go… because to watch them, and hear them go by there is no exaggeration. They are doing it.
ER: Do you understand why your stickers of cows have had such an impact and a long-standing tradition in the club? And follow up: is it a cult, a cow cult?
Hef: Ha, never thought of it that way. But we were over at Max’s, me and Ray Mckenna the other day. And I am trying to get rid of some cows. Because I want to go to two colors and I got seven. And it’s just, it’s just unmanageable. So when I went over there, the day before I sent out a packet to one of the parts guys over there. And I told him that I didn’t have the colors that he wanted but I beefed up what he got, and he should be happy for the twenty bucks that he gave me. So then we decide to go over to Hampton to the shop. Me and Ray to go up to Edward and Rachel Perry’s for dinner. I was talking to Rusty and his co-worker. And I said: “Would you guys do me a favor?” and they said: “What” and I said: “I want to give you guys some cows, but you know I want you to share them with anybody in the shop that wants them. And they said: “Oh you are the Heifeirmeister.” And I said: “Yeah” and he said: “I see these on almost every bike that comes in here.” I said: “ Well, ok cool” and I gave him a stack of different colors and stuff. They are yours, I just, I don’t want them anymore. And I still got a pile of them. So that was kind of neat. They’re happy, everybody’s happy.
ER: Why do you say it's drugs it's drugs every time you have the cash bag in your hand and are selling cow stickers?
Hef: Next question.
ER: Why don't I know what you did for a living? I mean after the military.
Heff: That’s no secret, I went to college. I went to the University of New Hampshire and graduated, got an Associates degree in applied science, I guess they call it. I started working in… after I went to school in Memphis for lumber grading. I started working for Ethan Allen in Randolph, VT at their furniture factory as a lumber inspector, and I did it for sixteen years. I turned forty million feet in sixteen years. That is a lot of wood.
ER: A lot of wood.
Hef: That’s what I was, I was a national hardwood lumber inspector. That was my profession.
ER: Do you have a favorite non-MOV event that you go to?
ER: Mine is Hermit by the way
Hef: Oh, I see what you are saying, no some of the better events that I like is our May ride, that’s a lot of fun, it’s kinda like the horse is let out of the barn. Just can’t wait to get going.
ER: By the way, if I could swing it I would be going.
Hef: Oh, I hope you do.
ER: I am sorry I can’t
Heff: Well, you’ll see, that day might come when you’ll be able to take off, that will be fun we would love to have you go. No, a lot of events are non MOV that we go to… but there’s not any one… at this point we’ve pretty much have canceled out the ones that we used to go to. They are not fun anymore, or they are arduous, or too far or even sometimes it is going to be raining for two or three days, so we say no we won’t do that one. And we fade out. You know some of these nationals are ok, but some of them are really devist… they are awful, because it’s too friggin hot, or too far, so we pick and choose at this point. I can’t see where in my life that I will give up bike riding just because I am not happy with it. It is just I might be infirmmed in some way. Or Lynn, we just can’t go. I mean you know, I am seventy four years old.
ER: Geeez (Surprised)
Hef: Shit’s going to happen.
ER: Why does vintage two wheeled iron have such a grip on you?
Hef: It doesn’t
ER: It doesn’t?
ER: Not at all?
ER: But you have like a moped hanging that you wouldn't sell for like…
Hef: (interrupts) How in the hell did you remember that?
ER: a million dollars hanging in the wood shed. And who ever comes up and offers you, you kick them out of the property for just mentioning that they would want to buy it.
Hef: It’s kind of cool, that’s all.
ER: Isn’t it cool. All the old iron is cool to me.
Hef: Yeah well, you know that’s never had a drop of gas go through it. So it’s kind of like, it’s brand new. It looks like hell, but it’s brand new.
ER: I know, that’s nuts.
Hef: (chuckles) Yeah I know it.
ER: When you think about the greatest generation, we are talking World War Two guys.
ER: what do you think the driver was for their common sense and basic fundamental skills? Why were they so far ahead of where we are now?
Hef: God, where did you get these questions?
ER: I wrote them
Hef: I don’t have an answer for that. They were a great people because they were hard workers. They came off of farms. They came off of some pretty bad backgrounds. They had to work.
ER: I mean agriculture was the whole country.
Hef: Yeah, ninety percent. So.
ER: You know the grandfather of the current owner of the quarry where I work now who is deceased he said: “I always like to hire the farmers, because they know how to work. “
Hef: They know how to invent, make their lives easier, on the job… and that’s important. Now, we don’t have that anymore. Too technical. People can’t do technical stuff anymore, but they can work with their hands. I have a friend down in New Hampshire his name is Norman Dickoto, I have never seen a more handy person in my life. He came from the old school. He’s younger than me, he works in a mill as a millwright. And another friend works up here at mill river where I used to work I hired him years ago and he has turned into one of the best millwrights I have ever seen, because he uses his head. He rebuild that sawmill from scratch practically, after it got some damage and things wear out, he would upgrade them. It’s amazing. I admire those kind of people.
ER: Tell me what it means to have so many friends in so many different places on two wheels?
ER: You have friends all over the country.
ER: And some across the oceans.
Hef: That... one of the things I like, I value honesty, integrity and blunt honesty the most. I like that. Lynn calls me an axxhole, she’s right. And she’s called me other good names, I’m sure, but that one always sticks with me because I have to get a giggle out of it. And those are the people that I am drawn to. Is people that are honest. And I have had, and this I want as a recorded part. I have been severely lied to by six people in my life. My first wife, a Marine a Colonel that got me for some money. Another Marine that got me for some money, and another Marine that got me for some money. Over my lifetime, and I remember them, and then two people in my club, that I loved dearly, and I did not like getting kicked in the stomach, sideswiped and punched with what they did to not only me and our friendship, but to a club that loved them. Honestly… they F’d us over. Those people, in my life. So.
Hef: And I don’t… and I get really angry with people that are cruel to other people, and abuse other people. And that goes from abusing children to abusing old people, ah to me they shouldn’t even exist on this earth. That’s not right. Bad people.
ER: What would you say if I told you there's people in the club that consider you their mentor? People that look up to you and say that you're the most influential club member in their life?
Hef: No… no I wouldn’t know how to answer that. Because I don’t think that, I have never even thought about that.
ER: You know you are in the survey a bunch you know.
ER: Did you know that?
ER: People say that you are the reason that they joined.
Hef: Oh, that was very kind of them. That will be ten bucks (laughing, uncomfortably).
ER: Do you remember the day that you plunked a copy of the BMW MOA owners news down on my table and said "join this club"?
Hef: Was that at Toziers? Yeah, yeah. You were wearing a crazy hat. Yeah I remember that.
ER: The Green Book, Anonymous Book and helping hands is a lifestyle for you. Have you ever been in the position where you yourself were on the side of the road and used the Anonymous book? Tell me that story?
Hef: No, I have never used the Anonymous Book. I just seem to rely on people that have good nature, and they will stop to help if I need it. And it works. You know I have never had to use the Anonymous book, I have never had to use the green book, I have never had to use anything, not even AAA or medjet, nothing, no it… it just works. And I have had a couple of times when I needed some help. For some reason… this is a good one. 1970 I went across country on a 305 Honda scrambler with my girlfriend. And I was on the freeway going towards Barstow, California, and the trip included: Daytona, LA, Seattle and back.
Hef: Two months on the road. And it was incredible. And we’re headed into Barstow, all of a sudden the bike started backfiring. I looked over my shoulder and there was fire coming out of the exhaust pipe. Whow, so I turn around and go back to the gas station which we had just left and two people helped. One guy was a truck farmer and I said “could you take me to Barstow?”. Where I was going to LA to see my cousin and he said “Sure, throw it on the truck”. So we did. The three of us threw it on the truck and tied it down as best as we could and he took me to Barstow. When I was in Barstow, we pulled into a Chevron gas station on the eastern edge of town. And we unloaded the bike and I said “I don’t have much money” and he said “Nah don’t worry about it”. And he drives off. He takes me sixty miles. He doesn’t even know me. The guys that were working in the gas station, by then it was ten o’clock at night, they said: “You can park your bike outback” it’s like a mini junkyard. I said “ok, where can I sleep, we have sleeping bags.” They said “Well, you can sleep in the City park, but you have to call the police and let them know you are there, you can put up a tent there. So I called the Police and they said: “Well, you can sleep there, not a problem but the sprinkler system goes on automatically, and I don’t know where you are going to stick the damn thing.” So I said: “Ok, that won’t work.” and we did not want to get a motel so… the guy said: “Why don’t you just go out and sleep in that station wagon out back.” It was a Nova, Chevy station wagon.
ER: (breathless, interrupting) That’s awesome
Hef: So we slept there that night and it was beautiful. The stars were out, it was warm. They gave us those packing blankets to sleep on in the back of the station wagon.
ER: Like UHaul blankets?
Hef: Yeah, and they were soft.
ER: Oh my God.
Hef: And we slept there that night.
ER: The shaggin wagon.
Hef: And then the next morning, on of the guys says: “I think I know what the problem is.” And we dropped the bowl and the main jet had fallen out.
ER: So it was flooding so bad…
Hef: Yeah it was just burning gas. And it was flying out the back end. Screw it back in and tighten it up and went on our way. Now those three different people, didn’t know us from Adam. We went in Anaheim, that’s where Disney originated from, Joanne wanted to go Disneyland, so we went to Disneyland. We are walking around and I hear: “Ted, Joanne, and we turn around and there’s one of the guys that worked in the gas station. From Barstow to LA. And we go over and shake hands and hug.
ER: Barstow is in what state?
Hef: California, it is out there in the desert.
ER: Still, I mean…
Heff: It was like amazing.
Hef: Ten million people in the world are in LA and we run across them again, never saw them again. And we completed the trip. The bike broke down every single day. Something happened. And it was at the point where it was like a joke. What’s going to break now? The clutch cable went, the chain flew off, Ahh, it was just unbelievable. That’s how I got introduced to BMW’s. We were in Grand Canyon, and this guy from Pennsylvania had an R69 S. And it ran great. Just sitting there putting. And my thing, I am sitting there trying to keep it going because of the altitude, mile above sea level, and I didn’t change jets, I just had to keep it running. And his is sitting there just purring away. I said: “what is that”. and he said: “That’s a BMW”. And I said: ”where do they make those things?” And he said: “It’s a German bike”. Fine. So I got home after this trip, got a job in Marlboro New Hampshire and I bought a Fing BMW. A slash five. Toaster tank.
ER: (groaning) Oh nice
Hef: I wish I still had that damn thing, but anyway.
ER: Spring is coming is your larder still stocked?
Hef: My what?
ER: Your larder.
Hef: Well, yeah.
ER: I know that Lynn likes burgers is there any dish that you like best? Of course you already told me about the Meatloaf and the...
Hef: Yes those are the three main dishes for me.
ER: Can you draw the fine line between extra crispy and Bacon Murder for me.
Hef: Bacon what?
ER: Bacon Murder.
Hef: I don’t even know what that is.
ER: It is when you cook the bacon so bad that it is no longer edible. In other words: can bacon be too crispy?
ER: You’ll eat it
Hef: I’ll eat it.
ER: (laughing) Bacon murder doesn’t exist?
Hef: No, it’s bacon man. I just don’t like it snotty.
ER: You take care of club members like there are the members of your family, does it make you pissed you can't get rid of them?
ER: They just hang around
Hef: They just hang around as long as they want, it is fine with me, I enjoy their company.
ER: When you die are we going to have to name a personal achievement award after you?
Hef: Well let me say this about that. Dying is a waste of time. (now quiet) So I am just not going to go there.
ER: You've put many miles on both old bikes and brand-new bikes do you think there's anything to this notion that BMW motorcycles are less reliable now that they're more complicated?
Hef: It depends on the luck of the draw. You can get an old bike that runs perfect forever, or you can get a new bike the same. It just, you are going to get a Monday morning bike sometimes.
ER: When I was at the national two years ago I met Voni Glaves. When I first met her I gave her a hug. While I held her in my arms I was overwhelmed with emotion by her lifetime of achievement in regards to her mileage. I cried. It made me think that there's no glass ceiling of any sort for my daughters and my daughters had no limit to their success because of this massive achievement of Bonnie’s. Do you have any female role models in the two wheeled community?
Hef: Vonnie would be one of them. And Artiss Kellerman is the other. But that’s only in the motorcycle world, there are so many women achievers in this world. It’s… it’s unlimited for them now. You look at the struggles that the middle eastern people are having to go through. But they are climbing out of it. Slowly. Their culture’s are going to change. And you look at the female astronauts: wow. There are two or three of them. Again, going back to cruelty to people. Women are being held down because they are women. That’s not fair. That’s an abuse to me. So when I see children learning how to play the piano. They could be just plinking, but they are doing something that is important to them. There’s no limit to where they go. They may want to be the best mother in the world. They might want to be a racecar driver. They can do anything they want. Just give them the Fing space they need.
ER: So when you ride is music part of the ride do you either have a stereo in the bike or earbuds?
Hef: The ‘14 has everything. So I’ve got speakers in the helmet. And sometimes I want to listen to what’s going on or a weather report. A lot of times when I want to ride with the guys I don’t want to hear any of that shit, I ride the 10, or my /6, or my K bike. So it depends, that’s really nice to have five ready to go bikes. I’ve given three bikes to my daughter. And one bike to my son in law. I think you met my daughter Eve.
ER: Eve, yeah.
Hef: And ah I can’t sell em. I have a hard time selling em. I don’t want to negotiate with someone of the sale of a bike. I got my soul in these bikes. And I kind of like them and I want to keep them in the family.
ER: It’s like a photo album. It’s like selling a photoalbum.
Hef: So I got my R80ST which is one of my favorite bikes of all time. And my son in law has got it down in Florida. And I went down there two years ago, and I went over to it and I patted the seat and talked to it for a second and hit the start button and that sucker started right up.
Hef: Put the helmet on and took it down the road. And it was sweet ‘cause I know that bike and I love that bike. But there are other bikes. There are other bikes for other reasons that I like. But that was the sweetest one.
ER: I see you have an EJECT button on one of your bikes, does that work?
Hef: Oh yeah.
ER: Was that from getting your helmet slapped, or… is that for the pillion only?
Hef: Just a joke. People go: “does that work?” I go yeah, one time I hit it by accident and flew off the seat.
ER: In your kitchen it's all cast-iron enamel and burner top toasters does that mean that you are in the culinary old school or can you still have salsa on your eggs for breakfast?
Hef: Both, oh yeah, I’m old school. Last night you should have been with us when we were making food for everybody. Oh that was good. Grilled cheese sandwiches.
ER: What does it mean to you to be a good host?
Hef: I’m not. I am just me, I don’t try to be a good host. They come in the door, there’s the Loo anybody want coffee? That’s it. And then it just goes from there. And if it’s getting around grunge time and it’s time to eat, you hungry? Find something, that’s it.
ER: So both the Rays and company are at your house and it's the third day in where do you go or what do you do to get some solitude? A break from it all?
Hef: Oh that’s… I go down in my shop. Work on a bike. Go grab a chainsaw. If they are not ready to leave, it’s ok. You can stick around. I have no problem with that.
ER: Historically how have you dealt with negativity from club members? Like if you are talking to somebody and they are negative and bumming you out, how do you deal with that?
Hef: I just move on, just walk away, I don’t need to hear any agro. It’s easy to do.
ER: You have garages without doors what's up with that?
Hef: Well first, maintenance. Secondly, I’ve got nothing to hide. Somebody wants to swipe something, I’ll be pissed, but you know it’s only something. And it’s really easy to maintain ‘cause you can just drive into a car port and it’s done.
ER: What does a near go no go decision when you're trying to figure out whether not gonna ride for the day
Hef: Distance and weather. That’s about it. If the weather is going to be crappy, I adjust.
ER: Natural casing hot dogs or bratwurst?
ER: Willie or Waylon?
ER: (Laughing) Onion jam or horseradish mayo?
ER: (Laughing more) Pistachio Ice cream: Green or white?
ER: In the summer I like to go at night or early morning. You ride south and have gone south. How do you beat the heat?
Hef: Morning riding is better, that’s fine. There’s nobody there.
Hef: Get on the bike, go find a nice high spot, there’s a really good one over here on Okemo which I have done a couple of times. Usually she’s awake and we are doing. But she doesn’t go with me in the morning because it’s cool. That’s a good time for a ride. It’s a sweet time.
ER: You are packing for a 5 day bike trip without car support. What do you pack. What are some must haves in your tank bag? And don’t say rescue tape because that’s already in there.
Hef: A good first aid kit. A couple of spares, like my cable. NOW a siphon hose. You probably heard that story.
ER: (Laughing) Because of a certain incident running out of fuel.
Hef: And you can paraphrase in parenthesis, “RIGHT KEN” Oh you know a spark plug, a couple of wrenches. Of course gaffer tape. Tire kit. Oh definitely a tire kit. Those are the must haves, oh there’s a nice bolt, throw that in there. There’s the perfect flashlight, throw that in there. That kind of shit.
ER: Can I tell you one item that I added to my tank bag.
ER: An eyeglasses repair kit.
Hef: I got it.
ER: Not for me, for somebody else.
Hef: I know.
ER: I was mortified that day at the rally that out of everyone at the rally, none of us had it. And all of us are wearing frigging glasses.
Hef: I got one, I put it in my kit. I just put it in my tank bag yesterday.
ER: I once changed direction on a side road by backing down hill into a driveway that had a washout in it. My bike dropped at a stop. What kinds of mental errors have you made on two wheels?
Hef: The unexpected hole when you put your foot down. You think you know where your foot’s going to go and it’s not there, it’s gone. That one pisses you off. Then it’s a struggle, stay upright or let it go? And that’s what happened on this… well it didn’t really happen that way, unexpected? I am afraid of animals running across my path. I brace for an impact, even a squirrel or a rabbit. I have never hit anything big. Doc hit a Fing full grown raccoon one day and he lofted the bike on his K11. Boom (makes climbing arc with his hand) back down again. He T boned it. He couldn’t believe it. He thought he was going to hit it and mash it. Those things are solid.
ER: They are, coons are rugged. They’re big
Hef: Yeah he said he hit that thing on the front wheel, the bike went up in the air and he didn’t have time for the brake and when he went over it the back wheel came off the ground. It was over there on route 10 going to the NAPA store. I said: “You lofted your bike? That Fing thing weighs seven-hundred pounds. Holy shit! Boy, I don’t ever have to hit one of them.” A friend of mine got hit by a turkey in the shoulder and it damn near dislocated it for three years. That’s Karl down in Mass… Rhode Island. It flew at him like this (Ted motions a left to right vector terminating at the rider's right shoulder) right there, it almost knocked him off the bike. Flew right into him.
ER: Took him high in the right shoulder.
Hef: Yeah, right there, boom.
ER: Wow, Turkey is a big animal.
Hef: Well you get a Ten pound Turkey thrown at you… just thrown at you it is going to hurt. Imagine doing 30 and you are doing 40? 70 mile impact.
ER: If a new member has never been to the Tover picnic, what do they need to know?
Hef: One thing?
ER: Don’t show up late?
Hef: I don’t care about that. Come hungry and we will feed you.
ER: When you are on 4 wheels do you find yourself scanning the road surface as if you were carving it up on your bike?
Hef: (Interrupts) Constantly
ER: Looking for cracks and tar snakes?
Hef: Constantly, Ray and I were coming in this morning and he was doing the same thing I would do. Missing those Fing tar snakes, and bumps and stuff. And I said: “You do the same thing I do, don’t you?” And he said: “What's that?” And I said: “You’re watching the road” and he said: “I watch the road all the time”. And his wife said to him: “Every time I come up the hill I hit the same bump, every time. “
ER: (Wheezy exhale trying not to laugh)
Hef: And Ray said: “Why, isn’t that amazing, I go around it every time. I never hit it. “
ER: My questions are set by the way, is there anything that you want to share with the club?
Hef: No, you pretty well… asked pretty good questions. Damn good questions. So, Ah, I don’t know how it’s going to come out on paper. Because rambling and yacking are two different things when it goes on paper. But I think it is a good idea to show the person that you are interviewing what you told me earlier, that I am going to see it on paper. One thing that I would like to add is that I am missing in my life a lot of people that have either quit the club, or clubs, or have died, or were killed on a motorcycle. And that’s quite a few by this point. And one of the things that I told Lynn when we first started riding, she had never ridden before, I said: “We are going to make some friends, and we are going to experience their death, or their injuries, because now we know who they are. But before, the people you read in the paper it’s a ho hum. Now you are going to know, Clarence Fularski, you’re going to know them by name, and a lot of people and they are part of our family now. And we are going to miss them.” And I miss a lot of them. That is what kind of ticks you off. But some die of natural causes. We are going to lose two guys here. Soon, two of my close friends, one from Maine and one from New York. One has been battling prostate cancer for three years now. And then he did hormones, which was a Fing joke. And then he did radiation in Albany. And I monitor him every single time I see him, how you doing? How you doing? He’s drinking this green glop that my cousin gave to me, it is basically a chlorophyll base food. You know kale and ginger root or whatever else he said, a whole bunch of stuff. And his numbers are coming down to reasonable. I think he’s got it licked. But you don’t know, there might be one little cancer cell. Just sitting there waiting to F you up. And it pisses me off because a lot of guys don’t take care of themselves, by going and getting a PSA check to see if their prostate is acting up.
ER: You know that my Dad died of cancer, right?
ER: He died of kidney cancer.
Hef: Yeah and my family is ah, well my dad died because he was a glutton. He weighed four hundred pounds. What the F did you do that for you fat bastard? You know, I could still have you around. So it’s part of life is death and I don’t like that.
ER: I think you are right, in that , and this is really one of the things that is so meaningful in your life, that you’ve met all these people. Ok, well you have also taken a risk by meeting them. Because now I cherish you and I love you and I enjoy your company, but you are going to leave me. That’s hard.
Hef: And I am seventy-four. I am right around the corner. I could go right now. That would piss me off.
ER: (laughing) Right
Hef: That would really piss me off. I would say: “F me I don’t want to do it now.
ER: Right you got a bike to ride.
Hef: I have twenty four more, twenty six more years to go until I hit a hundred. I want to hit a hundred. And I still want to be able to get on a bike and go somewhere. I see a lot of these guys, I don’t know if you notice one of my friends, a big guy, has a cane.
ER: Sure, I saw him at the puppy dog dinner. That’s where I saw him last, I think he rode into that.
Hef: He is all Fing smashed up. Not from an accident but from previous professional things. He was a Seabee. And it has come to haunt him now. He can hardly get out of bed. He’s Fing hobbling around. That ain’t right, every man and woman should just punch out with the flick of a switch instead of having to go through bullshit. And I talked to a guy in Rutland it was two guys, a kid I have known David since he was twelve. And this is last year and the guy that owns the store, Steiger, and we are talking about David’s father who is a friend of mine. I didn’t know that he had alzheimer's. And he had it for four years before he died. I said: “What, what, tell me about it. Mr Steiger was standing there. “ And then he said: “I have got the solution.” And we both look at him and he says: “No tweaking, don’t tweak me, leave me alone, just don’t tweak me. Don’t give me radiation, don’t give me chemotherapy, don’t give me injections, don’t give me Fing pills, no tweaking. “ And I thought Wow.
ER: What a choice
Hef: What a great way… think about it. So I said “how are you going to go down, when you finally get there?” He says: “Just shut out the lights” that’s all he wants, and I thought, ok, I dig it. No tweaking. How the F are you going to do that when you don’t really have a choice? The family is saying, keep him alive, keep him alive. When all you want to do is crawl over the the closet and find that 38 and put it in your mouth and get it over with.
Hef: It’s like ah Ernest Hemingway. When he wrote the hills of Kilimanjaro. He did himself in with a ten gauge I think, it was an elephant gun. Blew his head off. And he said, what was it, his famous line, oh, “I hate suffering except for hyenas.” He would gut shoot a hyena and watch them biting at the wound, killing themselves because they were checking out, they knew they were hurt and they didn’t want to suffer. And ah, his whole thing was don’t do anything unless it was a clean shot. So then you look at a guy like Robin Williams. He knew it was going to get worse, so he goes in the closet and hangs himself. That takes guts. Not Truman Capote, Hunter S. Thompson. Same thing he was sick, he was dieing. He didn’t want to go through hell, he shot himself in the head. It’s like, I don’t know if I could do that. That’s pretty heavy duty stuff, when you want to check out. So, anyway, how did that come up?
ER: I don’t know
Hef: I don’t either it doesn’t matter. I just don’t want to see suffering. That’s self abuse, to suffer.
ER: So give me, the most… the event you are most looking forward to 2016.
Hef: This year?
ER: Two wheels, talk to me.
Hef: The may ride is fun.
ER: I am still Hermit Island. I can see the lobsters right now. And I am going to the same store that says: “Ice cold beer” on it, that I bought the two dollar oysters last year that were probably the best oysters I have ever had in my life.
Hef: Alright well, Hermit is not just one weekend. We go for Thursday, Friday, Saturday, Sunday and Monday. We stay with the Perry’s. So that’s a great event, because we can relax. And Edward is not working he cuts everything off, he’s the grand Pooh Bah of that club. So he knows everything. Isle of Mann, but I only want to be there. I don’t want to have to get there and come back. I just want to be… somebody just put me there. Because it is such a hoot.
ER: Kirk to Enterprise
Hef: Yeah it’s a hoot, it’s amazing event
ER: You guys are going to have so much fun.
Hef: We do, and then I guess it would be Hermit Island, Isle of Mann, and the rest of the summer is just small stuff. Hamburg is not a big deal, that is just another rally. Stand around and find friends and shoot the shit. But those two events and they come well, May that’s the fun part. Because, the guys are getting out and they’re riding. And we got some really, really good riders. And you know what they’re going to do, or not do.
ER: I heard you like to twist the throttle by the way, I heard that.
Heff: What’s that?
ER: I heard that you roll throttle on, in corners, in straightaways…
Hef: F yeah, I ain’t scared. It’s a hoot. And the guys that I ride with. You got Ray Adams, Roger Rekus, John Lucas, Lyman. If we can get three guys up from Tennessee, I mean four guys. It will be Gene, Steve Hancock, Rob Mitchell. Rob Mitchell was the spokesman for BMW North America for several years. Excellent rider, and he’s fun to watch and stay behind right on his ass or one or two back. So you can watch him, because he knows the roads. He isn’t afraid, he will go down and touch his knee. You know one of those guys. So will Lyman.
Hef: He is an excellent rider. Excellent rider. And I think he did the school. One of those high speed schools.
ER: I want to do that.
Hef: And another good rider is Dan Walton. Dan Zee.
ER: I have never ridden with Dan.
Hef: These guys, they know I am going to pass. Wherever I am and if there’s enough room, without getting hurt…
ER: You’re gone.
Hef: I am gone, I don’t Fing follow anybody.
ER: And they are going to catch up…
Hef: They’ll find me. But I am not always in the lead. Sometimes I will be one or two from back. Doc is another excellent rider. I love riding with him. So, it could be a cluster F, but if you get ten guys you are going to break up anyway, you can’t all be together. And so I will see you at the motel. I’ll see you at the restaurant, I’ll see you at the intersection. So you go your own way. And if you are not happy with any of them, you just back off and let em go and you can catch up to them. And that’s what’s the nice thing about these guys. Because they are all riders, and they are all passers. Nobody is afraid to go around somebody. So that’s why I get this started in May because it really hones your skills. And when you ride with a bunch of other guys it is a little bit of competition, a little bit of testosterone going, not a lot. but just enough. Just enough to keep you peaking every single day. For three or four days, when you come home, you got a boner.
ER: (laughing) That’s what I am saying
Hef: (sitting taller in his chair, raising his voice) Fing ready to go. (Motions by curling his bicep raising his hand with an apple in it). Come on Summer. And you have got the confidence back. When I first started riding twenty five years ago again, I had the confidence. And they kept talking about that on the internet, BMW riders and other magazines, and stuff you know: hone your skills get ready for the spring, make sure your bike is running right, all that Fing bullshit. And I get on the bike and I am down at the end of the driveway and I am tuned in, I am ready to go. That’s all I need. In another fifteen minutes and I am going to ride the same Fing way all summer. All through the riding season. Everything just clicks, it’s just getting thrown in a pond and knowing how to swim. And you ought to see these guys ride. Oh, Icky, when you get… we had eight guys I think, yeah there was eight of us last May, Rob was leading, Steve Hancock from Knoxville, he used to be Yankee Beemers, a friend, a really good friend of ours. And they brought along, Rob brought along this guy named Troy from Chattanooga, and then Lyman. And then me, Doc was behind me and there was a couple of others in between. And it was like a symphony. We took West Virginia and Kentucky, there was nobody on the roads and it was just as sweet as can be, all through the Fing… It was just beautiful to watch. We’re all in synch. We’re not Fing racing, we’re just having a hard ride, a good ride. Boy when you come home after three or four days your wife looks beautiful. Your cats are wonderful, the food tastes wonderful, the bed is yours…
ER: You’re alive
Hef: And you’re Fing. You got a boner a mile long and it’s just like… Haaaaa
ER: You’re alive, you’re really alive.
Hef: Absolutely. And I can do that right at the end of the driveway, it feels the same way. I will go out for… I will go to Ludlow, get gassed up and come back and I am just primed, I am just… F… I don’t know how people can’t want to ride a bike. But it’s ok. F all those people if they don’t want to ride a bike.
ER: Well, let me thank you for taking the time to sit with me because um… you have been really influential in my life in the club and I look up to…
Hef: (interrupts) Oh God…
ER: and we share a passion for motorcycling.
Hef: Ayuup. Hopefully my Grandchildren will follow in my suit. Maybe they will find it as exciting as I do. I started riding my first bike it was a weezer and I pestered my father before I even got on a bike, I wanted a motorcycle. Because I rode passenger for my cousin who got out of the Korean war. And he got out and came by and gave all us kids a ride around the block. I still have the burn mark on the back of my leg. And it was magic because you didn’t have to pedal. You just did this (rolls on throttle) and up the hill you went. And I thought God this is cool. When I was fourteen I got a weezer ride no brakes, over in Malibu. From my father’s friend's son, that was my age and went to school with me. And then from then on it was pester Dad, pester Dad. No no no no no. When I got out of the Navy, the first thing I did, I got to get a bike. Dad helped me pick it out. It was a 250 big bear scrambler, Yamaha. And I rode the snot out of that Fing bike. And then later the Honda 305, and the BMW and sold the BMW and got a Moto Guzzi and then I went back to BMW and it’s been a love affair ever since. So, I like bikes, they’re good, they’re fun, and I know how to work on them too. And I have been lucky enough in my life to be able to afford, you know some guys will go and drink it up, or go spelunking, or do model trains or something, this one gives me something back. Not this just mental, like playing cards or something. This is something a man can do. And when he’s done with it he can work on it. Fix it, and admire it. So, (turning his head looking out the window at the late afternoon sun) yeah I want to go for a ride.